It's good to at least see that the Cowboys are still considered playoff contenders by some. The big problem the team faces is, of course, at edge rusher. And more good news is that the team has taken a step in the right direction.
Dallas is perilously thin at defensive end until Demarcus Lawrence returns from his four-game suspension, and even then, it's not as if he's prime DeMarcus Ware. The good news is that the Cowboys already made a nifty move in signing Ryan Davis on Tuesday; the former Jaguars end was useful in limited time over the past couple of seasons, producing 10 sacks while suiting up for just 24.1 percent of Jacksonville's snaps. He's exactly the sort of unknown young player who seems to excel under Rod Marinelli.
The mothership's scout-in-residence, Bryan Broaddus, offers his evaluation of Ryan Davis - and it looks pretty good.
This is the type of player that can win "right now." He can capture the edge, then close on the ball. Showed some power with a rip move - but this is a better leverage player than a power one. Last year, he showed the ability to create a turnover in the pocket against the Colts off a rip move.
Davis can finish when he gets close - which is something that has been lacking among these Dallas defensive linemen. He is physical getting the ball carrier down. He was able to run and deliver a blow to knock ball carrier off his feet. There is also some pop when he gets there. I can see him being used in a couple of different spots.
The lack of serious injuries is the big plus. And more help at defensive end may be on the way.
For the first time since the second week of camp, rookie defensive end Charles Tapper practiced in pads. Tapper has battled a back injury but appear to be getting closer to returning to the field. That doesn't mean he will actually play as the Cowboys could designate Tapper as an inactive player on game days, regardless of injury.
And even more help may come eventually, if the NFL ever gets around to deciding about the Randy Gregory suspension. Jason Garrett related what he has been talking to Gregory about since his return to the team while he is in rehab.
"He's doing a lot better," Garrett said.
Their talks have not been only about football.
"[We] talk about everything," Garrett said. "You try to get to know your players as people, and then certainly we're football coaches so we always talk about football and how they're going physically and what their role is going to be going forward."
The defense had some notable letdowns in the season opener, particularly at the end when the Giants gouged them with repeated runs up the middle. Jason Garrett was about as critical as he gets in his press conference about how Tyrone Crawford performed, and Crawford offered no excuses.
"I played horrible," Crawford said. "I definitely didn't play like I wanted to play."
The first game of his NFL career was not a good experience for Ezekiel Elliott. And not something he is accustomed to.
"I wouldn't say I was trying to go for big hitters, but it was just a little bit frustrating," he said.
Whatever frustration Elliott is feeling hasn't shown on the surface, which is honestly pretty surprising. In addition to running at will during college, Elliott also rarely lost. During his two years as Ohio State's starting running back, the Buckeyes lost a grand total of two games - and Elliott is now halfway to that total after Week 1 of his pro career.
The mistake by Terrance Williams was hardly the only reason the Cowboys lost to the Giants, but it certainly sticks in the mind because it was the last chance for the team. It was more frustrating because the team has worked on avoiding just this mistake.
A couple of takeaways here, one of which is the curious nature of Cowboys wide receivers to focus more on extra yards than clock management in crucial situations...and the other is the leadership of rookie Dak Prescott to call All-Pro Dez Bryant out on his mistake.
Bryant obviously learned from it, as he played traffic cop yelling at Williams and pointing to the sidelines once the reception was made on Sunday.
This is a nice analysis of the way key moments in the first game led to the defeat. This is worth clicking the link to read in length, and is hard to encapsulate in a quote, but here is an explanation of what it is all about.
Every week, we'll review a Toxic Events ledger for the Cowboys game, as well as place it in the context of how the events affected scoring. In essence, Toxic Plays generally lead to either points or stopping points from being scored against you.
The dismal production of Dez Bryant simply has to stop right now, and Jeff Sullivan lays it out well here.
Somehow, someway, put Dez in space. In those same spaces Jason Witten and Cole Beasley are finding. Those third and longs, throw it to Dez, even if it's a screen or quick pass and then let him run around. Seems more and more that the majority of his targets are jump balls. He needs to go up and make a play, which is fine here and there. There was a play in the Falcons game this past Sunday where Jones was running across the middle of the field and he was wide open. That never, ever, ever seems to be the case with Dez.
It looks like the matchup with Washington may be a good opportunity for the Cowboys to fix what ails them, but only if they take it.
Garrett talked all preseason about being aggressive, even with Prescott, yet they didn't play that way in week one. It could be a case of easing in a rookie quarterback in his first real game and they will push the envelope more and more each week. That might be understandable, but they shouldn't wait to be assertive on offense because the season could be gone before it even begins.
The run game was another major disappointment in the opener, and something else the coaching staff has to work on.
Because of that offensive line and because of Elliott, the expectation is the Cowboys will be able to run at will on anyone.
As Garrett said, it will not be easy, but it needs to be better.
Against the Giants, Elliott saw an eight-man box seven times and gained 14 yards. He had one carry against a nine-man box for 2 yards. He had eight carries for 26 yards against a seven-man front and 9 yards on four carries against a four-man front.
In addition to all the other challenges Dak Prescott is facing as a rookie starter, he now has to adapt to the rhythm of the NFL week.
He had the benefit of eight practices focused on the Giants as well as an offseason of preparation and a training camp full of snaps.
There is no time on his side as the Cowboys enter this week's game against the Redskins. The Cowboys held a brief walk-through Tuesday on Washington. They will have a walk-through Wednesday morning and full-padded practice in the afternoon. Thursday and Friday will have the same and then the team will be on the plane to Washington, D.C., Saturday afternoon.
One thing to note about the coming matchup with Washington: While the Cowboys kept it so very close, Washington was dominated across the board. They face even bigger challenges in trying to turn it around.
After winning the NFC East last season despite never beating a team with a winning record, the Redskins opened this season with a dismal 38-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night.
There were all sorts of problems for Washington (0-1).
The game against the Giants had special significance since it was on the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11. The Cowboys gave a special effort to recognize the date, and it was noted by their opponents, specifically by vice president and executive producer of the Giants, Don Sperling.
I don't recall ever sending out an e mail like this. However, I want to make sure that we recognize a brilliant, well executed, and most importantly, an emotional moving experience that the Dallas Cowboys put on for the 15th Anniversary of 9/11 at their incredible stadium.
We have all in some way been touched and affected by the events of 9/11. However, here in NY it has had a personal and lasting effect. The Cowboys incorporated the heart and soul of what New York City and the metropolitan area felt on that fateful day and the aftermath that followed. We were all moved deeply by this.
Stop me if you've heard this before.
Not only are the Dallas Cowboys the most valuable team in the NFL, they are worth more than any franchise in sports.
Forbes's NFL valuations show the Cowboys worth $4.2 billion, easily topping the league for the 10th straight year. Next closest are the New England Patriots at $3.4 billion.